Hanauma Bay Helps Heal Wounded Marine

Jesse Schertz
Jesse Schertz
Hanauma Bay
Hanauma Bay

HANAUMA BAY (KHNL)  --  As Hanauma Bay continues to heal, so do some folks who visit there, including one Marine who made the trip from half way across the country.

For Jesse Schertz, Haunama Bay is a long way away from Peoria, Illinois.

"It was pretty neat. I've never been to Hawaii," said the 24-year-old.  "It was my first time here. It's cool to go out there and see the different fish and trying to see a turtle or two."

Schertz is one of several hundred snorkelers enjoying the water, exploring ocean life.

"Don't have anything like this at home," he said.

Schertz is also a Marine, injured in Iraq almost four years ago when a car bomb exploded near his convoy.

"It was scary at first, but you may have a second or two of scary thoughts or whatever but your training kicks in," he said.

But this was more than just an explosion.

"They had homemade napalm and stuff like that, so we got a lot of burns," said Schertz.  "I had burns from my face, my hands, caught shrapnel in my ankle and broke my leg."

Doctors amputated his leg.  Schertz spent 15 months in the hospital.

"As far as the amputation goes, it's not too long of a process," he said. "It's a while before they let you have your leg, due to overdoing it, getting sores, getting infections."

He's gotten used to his new leg, and used to doing stuff he did before, and even trying some new things in a new place.

"It's just nice to come and relax for a while, to take vacation, get away from work and school for a bit, visit with Marines and Army, all the other guys that got injured," said Schertz.

Service men and women from different parts of the country, bonded by similar experiences and a similar call to duty.

"From what I've seen, a lot of the country supports us quite a bit," said Schertz.  "So it's nice to come home to people that have support for us."

Emotional and physical support for a Marine who still stands tall.

Schertz is now back home, attending college in Illinois.  He and 17 other injured service members made the trip out from Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas.